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Why global connectedness matters

When I visit our multinational customers or interact with our 470,000 employees worldwide, I observe regularly the benefits of global connectedness both in economic and human terms. I believe it’s one of the key forces shaping our future, and that it holds vast, untapped potential to sustainably improve life on our planet.

Maximizing economic potential

Globalization is crucial for economic growth. It has lifted millions of people out of poverty. Citizens of globalized countries enjoy access to a wider variety of goods and services, lower prices and more and better-paying jobs. Globalized countries maintain a competitive edge, and their populations enjoy more prosperity.

Europe offers an important example of how cross-border integration spurs economic development. According to the DHL Global Connectedness Index (GCI) 2012, Europe is the world’s most connected region, leading on international flows of trade, information and people. As the study notes, this is an important reminder of what EU integration has managed to achieve – and what its fragmentation might put at risk.

Five years into the global financial crisis, however, some might argue that the risks of globalization outweigh the benefits. There is convincing evidence to the contrary. The GCI concludes that every country has untapped possibilities to benefit from more connectedness, and that the potential gains can reach trillions of dollars.

Maximizing human potential

While the economic dimension of globalization tends to dominate today’s debate, it’s important to remember that a globalized world is also about advances in human development: in education, health and the environment, for example. Cross-border flows of information and people, two dimensions measured in the GCI, manifest themselves in greater cultural understanding among nations. Shared information enables innovation, and more cooperation often leads to less conflict.

Because we recognize the important role business must play in achieving these non-economic benefits of globalization, Deutsche Post DHL engages with governments and NGOs in areas where we can make a strong impact. One of these is education, where we have entered into an innovative partnership with Teach For All, the global network for expanding educational opportunity. We believe educational equality is strongly linked to employability, and that young people should have access to the full range of career opportunities a connected world provides.

Globalization and logistics

I’ve outlined some of the reasons why I believe globalization is an engine of economic and human progress, but how does logistics fit into the picture? Logistics is a key enabler of globalization and therefore makes a significant contribution to prosperity. Logistics does not have a value as such. But in making the supply chain highly effective and efficient, logistics lowers costs. As a consequence, more funding is available for investments in other important areas, such as infrastructure. In this way, logistics acts as stimulus to globalization.

I always tell my employees that what Deutsche Post DHL ultimately does is connect people and improve their lives. One could say we’re active and enthusiastic ambassadors of globalization. That’s something we’re proud of, and that’s why global connectedness matters to us.

More information on the Global Connectedness Index 2012

Pankaj Ghemawat: Track Connectedness Today to Deliver a Better Tomorrow

Is globalization still the answer? – Delphi Dialog with Frank Appel and Pankaj Ghemawat

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